Contemporary European Historians on Brexit

The upshot of this roundtable cannot be easily reduced to a political headline, and that is precisely the point. Serious history rarely works that way.


Why (not) Feathers? Period Hands and Material Encounters in Colonial Peru

My article on feather-work in colonial Peru shows, above all, that we should no longer differentiate between non-literate (material) Native Americans with feathers on their heads and literate Europeans with feathers in their hands. Far more important should be the historian’s distinction between non-literacy and knot literacy as this separates or connects cultures in the stories that we tell about the past.


Reassessing the First Red Scare of 1919-20 at its Centennial

The time has come to take stock of both our historical understanding of the First Red Scare and what it means for us today. The January 2019 issue of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, which I had the honor to guest edit, is the first substantial scholarly collaboration entirely focused on the Red Scare of 1919-20 and marks the onset of its centennial by uniting exciting and recent, but previously disparate, perspectives.


Central European History Discussion Forum: The Vanishing Nineteenth Century in European History?

The nineteenth century just isn’t what it used to be. Any number of indicators – from academic job postings and doctoral dissertations to journal articles and conference panels –suggest that interest in the nineteenth century among historians of Europe has been declining over the past three decades.…


Ghost Stories in Early Modern England: The Social, Personal, and Spiritual Dynamics

In early modern England, spectral figures like Madam Savage were regular visitors to the world of the living and a vibrant variety of beliefs and expectations clustered around these questionable shapes.


Promiscuous Presbyterians? Courtship, marriage and sexual activity in 18th and 19th century Ireland

This blog accompanies Leanne Calvert’s Irish Historical Studies open access article ‘‘He came to her bed pretending courtship’: sex, courtship and the making of marriage in Ulster, 1750–1844‘.…


‘…the Parliament’s Favourite’: Helen Arthur and the Williamite confiscation

This blog accompanies Frances Nolan’s Irish Historical Studies article ‘‘The Cat’s Paw’: Helen Arthur, the act of resumption and The Popish pretenders to the forfeited estates in Ireland, 1700–03‘.…


Reassessing the Hu–Wen Era: A Golden Era or a Lost Decade for Social Policy?

Journalists, China-watchers and academics have fiercely debated the legacy of China’s leaders, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. Some see the Hu–Wen period (2002–2012) as a “golden era” of rapid growth, while others portray it as a “lost decade” for economic and political reform.…


The Ancient Constitution and the Languages of Political Thought

My essay explores the nature of the myth of the Ancient Constitution, its manifestations over three centuries, and its historical and conceptual difficulties.


Science in History: From the Cold War to Trump

This episode neatly captures the way in which Cold War politics framed much of the debate about the history of science in the twentieth century. My Retrospect essay, and the accompanying articles, chart that changing historiography.


Male Anxiety and the English Landed Gentry 1700-1900

Our article explores anxiety as a gendered emotion in a specific part of a social group across a long period of time: the anxieties of younger sons of the English landed gentry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Drawing on recent theories and empirical studies in the history of emotions, we analyse anxiety through the correspondence of 11 gentry families.


Talking by means of the calligraphy brush

This blog accompanies Rebekah Clements’ Historical Journal article Brush talk as the ‘lingua franca’ of diplomacy in Japanese–Korean encounters, c.…